Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Demographics of the United States
The following is an overview of the demographics of the United States. Demographic topics include basic statistics, most populous cites, and religious affiliation. A separate article on demographic history of the United States is also available.
The U.S. population for July 2002 was estimated by the Census Bureau to be 288,368,698, a 2.47% increase over the July 2000 estimate of 281,421,906. The U.S. population more than tripled during the 20th century, a growth rate of about 1.3% a year, having been about 76 million in 1900. As of April 2005, the population has been estimated by the Census Bureau to be 295,900,000.
Most populous cities
The following is a list of the ten most populous cities in the country, with their estimates for 2002 and 2000. The trend column indicates whether the city is growing (+) or shrinking (-), based on the two estimates.
|Rank||Trend||City|| July 2002 |
| July 2000 |
|1.||+||New York City, New York||8,084,316||8,008,278|
|2.||+||Los Angeles, California||3,798,981||3,694,820|
|7.||+||San Diego, California||1,259,532||1,223,400|
|10.||+||San Jose, California||900,443||894,943|
The most densely populated state is New Jersey (372/sq.km).
A separate listing for Hispanics is not included because the Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean a person of Latin American descent (especially of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin) who may be of any race or ethnic group.
The Census Bureau's definition of "white" is not the definition most widely used by the US people as a whole. Most Americans define "white" to exclude all Hispanics, even those of European descent. Using that definition, the white proportion of the US population is 69.1%.
|1990||2001||Change in %|
|Total other religions||3.3%||3.7%||+0.4%|
|Total No religion||8.2%||14.2%||+6.0%|
|Total Refused to reply||2.3%||5.4%||+3.1%|
- the proportion of the population that can be classified as Christian has declined from 86% in 1990 to 77% in 2001;
- although the number of adults who classify themselves in non-Christian religious groups has increased from about 5.8 million to about 7.7 million, the proportion of non-Christians has increased only by a very small amount - from 3.3 % to about 3.7 %;
- the greatest increase in absolute as well as in percentage terms has been among those adults who do not subscribe to any religious identification; their number has more than doubled from 14.3 million in 1990 to 29.4 million in 2001; their proportion has grown from just 8% of the total in 1990 to over 14% in 2001;
- there has also been a substantial increase in the number of adults who refused to reply to the question about their religious preference, from about four million or 2% in 1990 to more than eleven million or over 5% in 2001.
Other Key Findings:
- Nearly 20% of adults who describe themselves as atheist or agnostic also report that either they themselves or someone else in their household is a member of a church, temple, synagogue, mosque or some other religious institution.
- On the other hand, nearly 40% of respondents who identified with a religion indicated that neither they themselves nor anyone else in their household belongs to a church or some other similar institution.
- Despite the growing diversity nationally, some religious groups clearly occupy a dominant demographic position in particular states. For instance, Catholics are the majority of the population in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as are Mormons in Utah and Baptists in Mississippi. Catholics comprise over 40% of Vermont, New Mexico, New York and New Jersey, while Baptists are over 40% in a number of southern states such as South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.
- Historical traces of the Bible belt in the South and an irreligious West are still evident. Those with "no religion" constitute the largest group in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Wyoming. In contrast, the percentage of adults who adhere to "no religion" is below 10% in North and South Dakota, the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
- Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and those with no religion continue to have a greater preference for the Democratic party over the Republican - much as they did in 1990. Evangelical or Born Again Christians and Mormons are the most apt to identify as Republicans. Buddhists and those with no religion are most likely to be political independents. In keeping with their theology, Jehovah's Witnesses disavow political involvement
- As in 1990 so too in the 2001 study, the Buddhist and Muslim population appears to have the highest proportion of young adults under age thirty, and the lowest percentage of females. A number of the major Christian groups have aged since 1990, most notably the Catholics, Methodists, and Lutherans. Congregationalist/United Church of Christ and Presbyterian adherents show an older age structure with three times as many over age 65 as under age 35. Baptists also have fewer young adults than they had in 1990. Among Jews the ratio of the over-65 to those under-thirty has shifted from nearly even in 1990 to about 2:1 in the current study. It should be noted, again, that this survey has focused only upon adult adherents. The observations about age structure do not include the children who may be present in the household of adult adherents.
- ARIS2001 found that of all households that contained either a married or domestic partner couple, 22% reported a mixture of religious identification amongst the couple. At the low end there are the Mormon adults who are found in mixed religion families at 12% and such other groups as Baptists, those adhering to the Churches of Christ, Assemblies of God, the Evangelicals and those adhering to the Church of God (all at about 18%). At the high end we find the Episcopalians at 42% and Buddhists at 39% living in mixed religion families. In all, about 28 million American married or otherwise "coupled" adults live in a mixed religion household.
- Those who identify with one or another of the main religious groups are considerably more likely to be married than those who have no religion. Particularly the "no religion" group was far more likely to be either single, never married or single, living with a partner than any other group. Indeed, the "no religion" group shows the lowest incidence of marriage (just 19%) of all twenty-two groups. In sharp contrast, those identifying with the Assemblies of God or Evangelical/Born Again Christians show the highest proportions married, 73% and 74% respectively. The percent currently divorced or separated varies considerably less, from a low of six percent (Jehovah's Witnesses) to a high of fourteen percent (Pentecostals).
- The top three "gainers" in America's vast religious market place appear to be Evangelical Christians, those describing themselves as Non-Denominational Christians and those who profess no religion. Looking at patterns of religious change from this perspective, the evidence points as much to the rejection of faith as to the seeking of faith among American adults. Indeed, among those who previously had no religion, just 5% report current identification with one or another of the major religions. Some groups such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses appear to attract a large number of converts ("in-switchers"), but also nearly as large a number of apostates ("out-switchers"). It is also interesting to note that Buddhists also fall into this category of what one might call high-turnover religious groups.
- Women are more likely than men to describe their outlook as "religious." Older Americans are more likely than younger to describe their outlook as "religious." Black Americans are least likely to describe themselves as secular, Asian Americans are most likely to do so.
- 68% of those identifying themselves as Lutheran report church membership, while only 45% of those who describe themselves as Protestant (without a specific denominational identification) report church membership. Nearly 68% of those identifying with the Assemblies of God report church membership. Church membership is reported by 59% of Catholic adults. About 53% of adults who identify their religion as Jewish or Judaism report temple or synagogue membership. Among those calling themselves Muslim or Islamic, 62% report membership in a mosque.
Age structure: (2000 est.)
- 0-14 years: 21.25% (male 29,956,875; female 28,597,880)
- 15-64 years: 66.11% (male 90,345,154; female 91,827,471)
- 65 years and over: 12.64% (male 14,472,865; female 20,362,428)
Population growth rate: 0.91% (2000 est.)
Birth rate: 14.2 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Death rate: 8.7 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Net migration rate: 3.5 migrants/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Sex ratios: (2000 est.)
- at birth: 1.05 males/female
- under 15 years: 1.05 males/female
- 15-64 years: 0.98 male/female
- 65 years and over: 0.71 male/female
- total population: 0.96 male/female
Infant mortality rate: 6.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Life expectancy (source: Centers for Disease Control, 2005):
- total population: 77.6 years
- male: 74.8 years
- female: 80.1 years
Total fertility rate: 2.06 children born/woman (2000 est.)
Literacy: (age 15 and over can read and write, 1979 est.)
- total population: 97%
- male: 97%
- female: 97%
Unemployment rate: 4.2% nation-wide as of 2000 census (See List of U.S. states by unemployment rate)
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